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OAER at Valencia College

This guide provides information on resources that can be used as supplementary course materials.

OER and the Library

If you are interested in adopting OER in your classes, your Librarian can help.

The process of selecting and adopting OER  is very similar to selecting a traditional textbook, or supplemental materials such as scholarly articles, videos, and primary sources for your classes. ‚ÄčThe most difficult part of the process is locating OER which can be a time-consuming searching across a myriad repositories and sites. 

Your librarian can assist you, use this OER Request Form as a guide to clarify your specific needs and to share with your librarian the necessary information needed to support you in finding, evaluating, adopting and possibly adapting OER.


If you are currently using an OER in your course and saving our students money, use this form to share your good work.


The links on this guide may change, if you discover a dead link, please let me know: 

Assessing OERs


BCcampus (an open education project in British Columbia) invites faculty reviews of the open textbooks that they publish. Note that, by clicking on "Faculty-reviewed" in the list of results on the BCcampus Open Textbooks site, you can narrows results to only books that have been reviewed.

Criteria for assessment of BCcampus open textbooks include:

  1. Comprehensiveness
  2. Content Accuracy
  3. Relevance/Longevity
  4. Clarity
  5. Consistency
  6. Modularity
  7. Organization/Structure/Flow
  8. Interface
  9. Grammatical Errors
  10. Cultural Relevance

This rubric was adapted from, which is a derivative of the review rubric used by College Open Textbooks. This rubric is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.

Achieve's Rubric for Evaluating OERs identifies eight criteria to consider when evaluating open educational resources. This chart condenses Achieve's criteria into a more compact form.

Faculty Guide to Evaluating OERs

This checklist by BCOER suggests considerations when selecting a suitable OER.

Open Textbook Library

Open Textbook Library (OTL) also includes faculty reviews alongside the open textbooks in the library. OTL uses the same review rubric as BCcampus, inviting faculty members to rate textbooks on the basis of comprehensiveness, content accuracy, relevance/longevity, clarity, consistency, modularity, organization/structure/flow, grammatical errors, and cultural relevance. Should you wish to contribute a review of an open textbook in the library, please contact OTL directly.


MERLOT is a repository of open educational resources that adds new resources via a peer review process. The site has organized more than twenty editorial boards to coordinate peer review activities. In addition, you as an instructor can join the MERLOT community and post your own reviews of the materials on the site. MERLOT recommends that each review address the quality of the content, its potential effectiveness as a learning tool, and ease of use.

iRubric: Evaluating OER Rubric

This resource by Rcampus includes a list of questions to ask as you are considering an open educational resource.


How Do I Adopt an OER Book?

Adopting an OER book is similar to the way you would adopt a physical. The only difference is the format and access to the textbook. You can provide an alternative to expensive textbooks through OERs by the steps listed below:

  1. Use the Discipline Specific OER tab in this Guide to find the right OER for your subject area.

  2. Review the website to familiarize yourself with the resources.

  3. Select, review and evaluate the textbooks to determine it it will meet your needs as the faculty as well as the needs of your students. You can use this adoption worksheet to keep track of your assessments.

  4. Since many opens textbooks allow customization, you can select a textbook to be used as is or you can edit and customize it to fit your needs and the needs of your students.

  5. Add the textbook to your course in Canvas in the most suitable format for your students. Valencia faculty who are using OER materials should refer to Valencia's policy 6Hx28: 4-09 on Instructional Materials and the Instructional Materials Opt-Out or Supplemental Materials Review Form.


Print Copies of OER

Most Open Textbook and OER are free to download or read online. If students would prefer printed copies, some Open Textbook publishers have print-on-demand availability for a small fee. These include OpenStax College and Orange Grove Textbooks.

How do I evaluate a book?

Faculty members already assess and select textbooks for use by their students based on a their experience and knowledge of the subject matter to be covered. Open Textbooks are assessed in the same way with a few additional considerations as shown below:


  •   Accuracy of material
  •    Richness
  •    Depth
  •    Breadth
  •    Timeliness
  •    Cultural context


  •    Writing quality and tone
  •    Reading level
  •    Organization
  •    Visual presentation
  •    Hierarchy of information
  •    Collateral materials

Additional Criteria

Accessibility online

  •    Are the web pages for the textbook accessible?

Production options

  •    Is the book available in more than one format? Printed? Bound? PDF?

Platform compatibility

  •    Is the textbook viewable and usable on both MAC's and PC's?

Delivery options

  •   Is a bound copy available at a very low price? Will your bookstore be able to carry the printed version?


  •    If the online version includes interactive software or multi-media files, are they accessible and cross platform?

Consistency between online and printed presentation

  •    Are the online and printed versions comparable in organization and basic appearance?
  •    Will you be able to identify locations in either with minimal confusion for students?

Collateral material

  •    If there are test banks, interactives, or other enrichment materials, are they in a format you can use?
  •    Accessible?
  •    Free or very inexpensive?

Modifying Open Textbooks

Modifying an Open Textbook: What You Need to Know

  1. Check license
  2. Identify format
  3. Assess editability
  4. Determine access
  5. Publish textbook

The steps include specific information for working with five very common types of OER:

  • PDF
  • HTML
  • MOBI and EPUB
  • Pressbooks
  • OpenStax

Creating Your Own OER

The following guides will assist you in creating your own OER


Open Education Self-Publishing Guide

The BCcampus Open Education Self-Publishing Guide is a reference for individuals or groups wanting to write and self-publish an open textbook.This guide provides details on the preparation, planning, writing, publication, and maintenance of an open textbook. Copyright, open-copyright licences, and the differences between citation and attribution are discussed as well as the importance of copy editing and proofreading. Checklists and templates are also provided. This guide replaces the BCcampus Open Education Authoring Guide.

Authoring Open Textbooks by the Open Textbook Network 

This guide is for faculty authors, librarians, project managers and others who are involved in the production of open textbooks in higher education and K-12. Content includes a checklist for getting started, publishing program case studies, textbook organization and elements, writing resources and an overview of useful tools.

A Guide to Making Open Textbooks with Students (from the Open Textbook Network)

A handbook for faculty interested in practicing open pedagogy by involving students in the making of open textbooks, ancillary materials, or other Open Educational Resources. This is a first edition, compiled by Rebus Community, and we welcome feedback and ideas to expand the text.

SUNY Empire Authoring Tools Guide

A clearinghouse of OER, including learning object repositories, open course repositories, scholarly repositories, open textbooks, and information about open learning/education in general.

Case Study from an Open Textbook Author

Read about the experience of a team of scholars writing an Introduction to Theater textbook.

Guide to Tools and Resources for OER Authors from the Open Access Textbooks project

A guide to authoring tools focusing on whether tools are free, allow collaboration, can create multiple kinds of outputs, and other important logistical questions.

80 Open Educational Resources tools

Includes 80 online resources that you can use to learn how to build or participate in a collaborative educational effort that focuses on publication and development of those materials. Although some choices focus solely on publication, development, or tools used to accomplish either effort, some provide multifaceted venues that offer communities in which to collaborate on one or all of these efforts.


These tools will help you create your OER


"Easily create e-books, typeset PDFs, and web books. Choose from professionally designed book themes. One button publishing." Free and priced options.


Can be used to create interactive tutorials and mash up text/media.


Easily record and edit videos of action on your computer screen.

YouTube (Uploading Videos)

The place to upload and store videos for viewing. This link leads to a tutorial on how to upload videos to YouTube.

Google Drive

Drive allows you to create web-hosted documents, presentations, forms etc. Each document can be linked to from D2L and centrally maintained (i.e. you can update the google document and it will automatically update within D2L). This can be useful especially if you are using the same material for multiple classes.


Online photo editor and drawing tool. Requires Flash.

See more OER authoring tools


Hosting Your OER

Canvas has an OER facility where you can upload and share your OER with the Canvas community.

The Cloud

You can host your creation in the cloud using the following services:


  • Flickr - A free image hosting service (up to one terabyte) that allows you to create galleries and slideshows and mark your content as Creative Commons.



  • YouTube - Is the most popular and receives the most traffic, but the learner may get lost among millions and millions of search results.
  • SchoolTube - For K-12. Contains many videos created by students as well as educators. SchoolTube screens content in order to protect children from harmful content or invasions of their privacy.
  • TeacherTube - For K-12. Contains content by and for educators.
  • Vimeo - Is comparable to YouTube, but a smaller user-base, less clutter from low-quality videos, and no advertisements. 


  • Scribd - Allows you to upload Word documents, which you can then embed in any blog, web page, or online course. Be mindful that 1. Scribd has shifted its focus to selling a monthly subscription to their ebook collection, and 2. many Scribd users use it to host junk and plagiarized content.
  • SlideShare - Allows you to upload Powerpoint presentations, which you can then embed in any blog, web page, or online course. You can mark your content as Creative Commons.
  • Google Drive - Allows you to upload Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and Powerpoint slideshows, which you can then link to - but not embed.

You can also share your creating with an OER repository so that it can be accessed and used by others:

A platform for creating, editing, and sharing Open Educational Resources on all topics, for all grade levels, and also for rating, reviewing, modifying, and using the OERs created by others. You can sign up to be a peer reviewer, and some of the OERs are formally peer reviewed. 

The Valencia College libraries do not welcome solicitation of resources to be added to our LibGuides. This includes but is not limited to vendors, search engine optimizers, placement of ads, products, or any other requests. Our LibGuides are carefully curated resources developed in partnership with faculty, staff, and students to support specific assignments, courses, events, and other related purposes at Valencia College. The Valencia libraries reserve the right to ignore LibGuide resource solicitations, and/or block persistent requests from groups or individuals to add or promote links in our LibGuides.